After a two-year probe, the Justice Department notified Yale University today that they discriminate against White and Asian Americans during their undergraduate admission process, which goes against Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The complaint originated from an Asian American group, who said Yale chose other African American applicants with similar achievements and credentials based on their ethnic group, and therefore, are complicit with race discrimination.
Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband for the Civil Rights Division said in a statement, ““Unlawfully dividing Americans into racial and ethnic blocs fosters stereotypes, bitterness, and division. It is past time for American institutions to recognize that all people should be treated with decency and respect and without unlawful regard to the color of their skin. In 1890, Frederick Douglass explained that the ‘business of government is to hold its broad shield over all and to see that every American citizen is alike and equally protected in his civil and personal rights.’ The Department of Justice agrees and will continue to fight for the civil rights of all people throughout our nation.”
In order for Yale to receive millions of dollars in taxpayer funding, Yale has to comply with Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This act ensures applicants are not discriminated based on their race, color, or national origins for programs and activities that benefit from federal financial assistance.
In the Department of Justice’s statement, they said “Yale discriminates based on race and national origin in its undergraduate admissions process, and that race is the determinative factor in hundreds of admissions decisions each year.” In their investigation, they found Asian Americans and whites have a disadvantage when applying to the university based on this criteria, finding that they have only “one-tenth to one-fourth of the likelihood of admission as African American applicants with comparable academic credentials.”
Karen Peart, a spokeswoman for Yale, defended their admission process in a statement to CNBC and said the university “absolutely complies with decades of Supreme Court precedent.” Peart said the university looks at the “whole person” when considering an application, and would not change their policies because of a “meritless, hasty accusation.”
While the spokesperson defended Yale’s admission process, they may face serious backlash if they do not comply with the Department of Justice’s charge against the university, and may not receive federal funds as a result.